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Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos: More Great Golf Courses are Coming Soon

New Layouts Expected from Big-Names Like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman

Los Cabos has been in the midst of an unprecedented golfing boom for the past three decades. Since the first modest 9-hole course appeared in San Jose del Cabo in 1987, championship-level loops have been premiering on a regular basis. Jack Nicklaus kick-started the local boom in the 1990s with memorable courses at Palmilla, El Dorado, and Cabo del Sol; but other major champions soon followed, including Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods.

As of March 2018, there are 15 courses operating in Los Cabos, and four of them – an astonishing 27% – made Golf Digest’s recent list of the 100 best international courses. Love’s Dunes Course at Diamante sits at 38th overall in Golf Magazine’s ratings, which encompasses courses from every country on earth. Nicklaus’ Ocean Course has been rated among the top 100 for 15 consecutive years, and his spectacular course at Quivira cracked the elite rankings after being open for only three years.

Amazingly, there are no signs that the pace of new courses in lessening. Quite the contrary. As many as a half-dozen new courses are expected to open in the next few years, including challenging new layouts from Woods, Nicklaus, Norman, Fred Couples and Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Here’s an overview of what destination golfers can expect to see in the next few years…

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Puerto Los Cabos’ composite design from Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman is being expanded. A new nine-hole layout from Nicklaus is expected later this month, bringing the total to 27 picturesque holes. This view from the elevated tee box of the par-3 6th is a current highlight.

Expanded Course Offerings at Puerto Los Cabos

In 2008, a luxury development just outside San Jose del Cabo named Puerto Los Cabos debuted a most unusual golf concept: a composite course from Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. “Where the Golden Bear Meets the Great White Shark” was the inevitable marketing slogan, but the plan all along was to eventually break off the 9-hole designs into full courses from each of the legends; a public loop from Nicklaus, a private one from Norman. Nicklaus’ second nine is expected to debut later this month, but since Norman’s second is still years away, PLC will, in the near-term, showcase a 27-hole concept similar to that used by Palmilla Golf Club. Golfers can build their 18-hole experience from any of the three available 9-hole offerings.

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Master plan for the new Fred Couples designed Twin Dolphin Golf Club at Santa Maria Bay in Los Cabos.

The First Fred Couples Design in Los Cabos

Sweet swinging former Masters champion Fred Couples is making his first foray into Los Cabos, designing a golf course to accompany two new resort and residential projects overlooking Bahia Santa Maria: Montage and Maravilla Los Cabos. Ground was broken last year on the new 18-hole layout – to be dubbed Twin Dolphin, after an iconic pioneer resort built in the 1970s, and closed in the early 2000s – and the finished product may be unveiled as early as this year.

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Greg Norman has been given a breathtaking beachfront location to work with for his upcoming golf course at Rancho San Lucas.

A New Greg Norman Course at Rancho San Lucas

The early courses built in Los Cabos were set along what is referred to as the Tourist Corridor, the 20-mile coastal corridor that connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Since 2009, however, the new frontier has become the Pacific Coast north of Cabo San Lucas. This territory has already been mined to dramatic effect by Diamante and Quivira developers, and is now being taken up by Grupo Solmar, a legacy resort chain whose birth dates back to the early days of Los Cabos tourism. The founder of Solmar, Don Luis Bulnes Molleda, was in fact the manager of the old cannery when Cabo San Lucas was still a commercial fishing outpost. Solmar’s newest venture is called Rancho San Lucas, an ambitious resort and residential development that will be centered around an 18-hole golf course from Australian legend Greg Norman. Rancho San Lucas Golf Club should be open by late 2018 or early 2019.

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Jack Nicklaus’ spectacular Quivira Golf Club opened in December 2014. Work on a new inland course from “The Golden Bear” is expected to begin in 2019.

A Second Jack Nicklaus Course at Quivira

No local course captures the spectacular natural surroundings quite like Nicklaus’ magnificent Quivira. The drive along the cart path to the 5th hole, which follows a long switchback trail up the side of a cliff, alone is worth the price of admission. But the comfort station that awaits is pretty impressive, too, as is the 5th hole green, which juts out from the cliff above crashing Pacific Ocean waves. Need we mention the presence of an historic lighthouse, or the onsite steakhouse? Quivira has climbed the world rankings in near record time, so news that Nicklaus is returning to design a second course for the Pueblo Bonito affiliated development is big news. Groundbreaking on the new layout is expected to happen next summer, in 2019.

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Expect aerial views of the new Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s course at Four Seasons Costa Palmas Resort in Los Cabos to be even more beautiful than this artist’s rendering.

A Second Robert Trent Jones Jr. Course in Los Cabos

Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s Cabo Real course helped but Los Cabos on the golfing map when television cameras caught whales breaching near a seaside green during a 1996 PGA Senior Grand Slam event. Jones is now returning to design a second local loop, this time for luxury brand Four Seasons at their new Costa Palmas resort on Los Cabos’ gorgeous East Cape. Expect the new golf course to open in mid to late 2019.

Six New Reasons to Visit Los Cabos

Champion golfer Tiger Woods has plans for a third layout at the exclusive Diamante development. His parkland style El Cardonal and 12-hole Oasis Short Course are already open.

A Third Tiger Woods Course at Diamante

Diamante has become a major golf player over the last decade, building what is now inarguably the finest golf portfolio in the region. Davis Love III’s links style Dunes Course drew raves when it opened in 2009, and still does…but Tiger Woods is the big-name attraction. To date, the 14-time major champion has designed a parkland style course called El Cardonal and a fun 12-hole short course dubbed Oasis. Groundbreaking on Woods’ third offering, a lush layout in the style of Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, is expected to begin in 2019. By then, new resorts from the Hard Rock and Nobu brands will also have opened at Diamante.

 

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About Chris Sands

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as Baja.com, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

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